This post was written by Jayne Kendall, Product Marketing Manager for www.ourhomeonline.wales – powered by Nominet who also run www.theukdomain.uk 

“Having an online presence was very important to us. Like every business, that’s how we reach varied audiences in all parts of Wales and beyond Wales, and it’s a shop window showing our business and what we have to offer.” – Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru

Like Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, small businesses across Wales have much to gain by being online. Your customers expect it, so it’s just a question of making sure they can find you. There are lots of marketing tactics for promoting your business online and the tips we’re about to share are merely the tip of the iceberg, but every small business has to start somewhere…

  1. Get the right name for your website

When you’re ready to take your business online, one of the most important decisions to make is what domain name is best for you. It needs to be memorable, easy to spell and match your business name, and it’s worth securing variations of the one you settle on so that nobody else can set up a website using the same name. For example, if you opted for a ‘yourbusinessname.wales’ domain, you might also want to secure ‘yourbusinessname.cymru’ too.

On the subject of Welsh-specific domains, getting a. cymru or. wales domain is a great way to show off your Welsh roots, and can therefore help to strengthen your brand. As Evans Pharmacy says, “Our business is Welsh and proud and the domain helps us show how proud we are of our Welsh identity and where we were established. Our customers love that our web address is so patriotic and it’s made us more popular than our competitors locally; they want to support the local company with “wales” in its web address. We’re always growing and the. wales domain is now a great part of it.”

  1. Make sure customers know where you’re based

You’ll want to use your website to drive customers to your offline business, so make sure it’s clear where you’re based ‘in real life’. Include your address and contact details on a ‘how to find us’ page, perhaps with a map showing your location. As we saw earlier, a Welsh-specific domain such as. cymru or. wales will also make sure visitors know immediately that you’re based in Wales.

Beyond your own website, you should also make sure that your business appears on all the online map sites, such as Google Maps, Apple Maps and Bing Maps. You can do this by submitting your ‘business listing’ and going through a simple verification process. This will help ensure you appear when customers search for businesses like yours close to them, whether through the normal search engine results pages or on map searches.

  1. Know your keywords and how to use them

What are people likely to search for when they want to find your site online? For example, if you’re a restaurant, they might search for a phrase like “restaurants in Swansea”, “Italian restaurants in Cardiff” or “best restaurants in Aberystwyth”. The process of getting your website appearing for relevant searches is called search engine optimisation, or SEO, and it’s another free form of online marketing that will help you reach the right people. Using keywords with high search volumes in your title tags and page headings is a good start, and will help search engines understand which searches your website is relevant to.

  1. Start a blog

Including a blog on your website is a great way to market your business, and it doesn’t have to cost a penny. You can use a blog to demonstrate your expertise; for example, if you make furniture, your blog could share interior design tips and perhaps explain some of the techniques you use. A blog is also the perfect place for telling the world about your good news, showcasing new products and ideas for using them, and sharing your opinions on subjects related to your industry.

Even better, blogging benefits your SEO, ensuring that your website stays fresh and up-to-date. And, because you’re sharing useful content, you might well find that people start sharing and linking to your posts, bringing more traffic and exposure to your site. For maximum benefit for your business, ensure that your blog is hosted on the same domain as your main website (for example, yourbusinessname.wales/blog), so that your whole site takes advantage of shares and links.

  1. Get to grips with social media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social networking sites aren’t just fun; they’re a fantastic marketing opportunity for small businesses. As the Welsh Rugby Union says, “Having a strong online presence is critical to what we do, with so much going through social media and digital communication, and our website is really our main connection sometimes with the people who come to the stadium who wish to engage with rugby in Wales.”

Social media gives you a platform for engaging with your customers, and it’s also great for driving traffic to your website. For example, if you’re blogging, you can share your posts with your social media followers, who might then ‘like’ your post, thereby putting it in front of their friends and followers and growing your audience organically. It’s important to remember, however, that social media is a two-way thing; the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. So, make sure you respond to your customers, and encourage interactions by sharing some of their posts or asking them questions. When they interact with you, their friends see it, and your audience has the potential to get bigger and bigger.

  1. Encourage Reviews

Many people now search for online reviews of a small business before using it, so another way of marketing your business online is to encourage customers to leave a review on relevant sites, such as TripAdvisor or Yelp. Reviews help boost your website for local searches, as well as instilling trust in potential customers. You can also quote some of your favourite reviews on your site, giving potential customers a feel for what happy customers have said about you.

You can get more reviews simply by asking your customers to write one, perhaps in a follow-up email after they’ve ordered from you, or by asking nicely on social media. You could even encourage them by putting all reviewers into a monthly prize draw as an incentive. Don’t be too afraid of negative reviews; realistically you won’t be able to please everyone, and potential customers know that too. However, you can at least respond to them with your side of the story, and you can turn a negative into a positive by the way you write back.

  1. Track how people use your website

Setting up Google Analytics is quick, easy and free, and it’s an important tool for any marketer. Tracking visitor movements on your website can give you lots of insights that can help with your marketing. For instance, you can find out how people found your site, thus showing you which of your marketing tactics are proving most effective. You might find that you have lots of people visiting your website from big locations such as Cardiff or Swansea, but not many from rural Wales; you could then target your marketing efforts to reach new, rural audiences, or redouble efforts to your urban customer base, which is more of a known quantity. You may discover that people typically leave your site on a certain page, without buying from you; this can inform efforts to improve your website to encourage more conversions. You could also find out which posts on your blog generate the most interest, so you can concentrate on writing posts you know your audience finds interesting and are more likely to share.

As you get to know what works for your business, you’ll get a better understanding of where to concentrate your marketing efforts for maximum effect. Get to grips with these basics and you’ll be well on the way to building a strong presence online. As Wales’ leading co-working company Indycube highlights: “I think nowadays you have got to be online and not to be missing an opportunity. Its important people can find you at the click of a keyboard or on their phone or their tablet.”


Source : http://businessnewswales.com/successful-marketing-business-online/

Categorized in Business Research

You know that good communication skills are essential to rise to the top in business. Communications skills can endear you among your peers, raise your value among your superiors, and cause you to be admired among those subordinate to you. So, how can you develop them to meet your true potential? Here are some helpful tips for improving your business communication skills.

1. Practice Your Listening Skills (and Your Paying Attention Skills Too)

Business communicationListening requires a bit more than not talking while someone talks.

When others are speaking, are you really listening? We often confuse ‘listening’ with ‘being quiet’ but just because you aren’t talking while others are talking doesn’t mean you’re really listening. Learn to turn off your own internal dialogue and truly tune into what others are saying. It often helps to repeat what you’ve heard so that you know you’re paying attention and they know it too.

2. Collaborate, Don’t Dictate

Lectures, monologues, and ramblings don’t belong in business communications. If you find you’re speaking more than a few moments (except when giving a presentation or leading a demonstration), stop. Simplify what you’re trying to say as much as possible. Allow others to offer their input on the issue. Communication is about give and take, not dictating how things are going to be or how you think they should be.Vmoso Mobile Collaboration ad

3. Pay Attention to How You Spend Your Leisure Time

You probably didn’t expect this to be on the list. What do the TV shows you watch, the things you read, and your hobbies have to do with business communications? Well, the answer is twofold. First, they have the potential to expose you to new perspectives and important current events that help you grow your business intelligence. Odds are people who watch an hour of reality television daily aren’t going to be as capable of carrying a business-oriented conversation as well as those who spend their free time reading business journals and networking with successful mentors. Second, you will glean tremendously useful ideas and insights from more intellectual pursuits than from watching or reading less helpful material during your off time.

4. Invest in the Right Communication and Collaboration Tools

If you’re depending on email and social media for your communications, you’re probably receiving a lot of useless and redundant information and perhaps missing out on the most important conversations. A collaborative tool like Vmoso is the ideal way to streamline communications, collaborate on important projects, and build meaningful business relationships.

5. Don’t Wait Too Long to Bring Up Sensitive Issues

Allowing a situation to build and fester is a recipe for a breakdown in communications. It’s much easier, effective, and more professional to address an issue as soon as it pops up, while it’s still in its infancy, than to wait until it grows into a big, ugly, angry monster. Most of the time, a quick, direct discussion can resolve any interpersonal or professional issues without negatively affecting the relationship.

6. Learn to Have and Use a Good People Memory

Business communicationDedicating time and energy toward remembering important bits and pieces of your coworkers’ lives can pay off big time.

Is Sheila a morning person, or is it better to approach her with a problem later in the afternoon? Does Samuel prefer a bagel when you swing by to pick up breakfast, or is he more of a sausage biscuit kind of guy? Is it Tuesdays or Thursdays that Becky has to leave as soon as possible to get her child to his orthodontist appointment? Do these little details seem meaningless to you? People are important. When you can remember details about their personal lives, it shows that you care for them beyond their work. This fosters a deeper, more meaningful relationship that will spill easily into a better, more rewarding business relationship.

As you can see, becoming a better communicator sounds a lot like becoming a better person. Any personal improvements you make in your own life flow readily and steadily into your work life. Now, take your skills to the next level with an audit of your communications tools in 10 Ways Your Current Communication Tools Are Wasting Your Time.

Author: BroadVision Admin
Source: http://www.broadvision.com/en/blog/6-tips-for-improving-your-business-communication-skills

Categorized in Business Research

Whether you're a one-person operation or 100-employee company, ongoing improvement is the name of the game. Businesses are not static. Your business is either on an upward track or it is on its way down. Making consistent improvements to make your business better is a conscious choice. Not only must you balance your time, but you must also choose the right area of business that will make the biggest impact.

These 10 tips will help you focus on improving areas of your business that offer the biggest gain.

1. Keep Score

It's amazing how few small businesses have an accurate idea of the daily, weekly and monthly numbers and financial trends in the organization. It's vital that you spend the necessary time keeping current on cash flow. If you lack the financial skills then hire an accountant, but still stay in the loop.

2. Set Goals

Like keeping score, setting goals and objectives is an essential part of business success. Set goals and use them as an ongoing planning tool to ensure you continue to move forward in your small business.

3. Use High Impact Marketing

It's easy to waste money on ineffective marketing. Learn how to use low budget high impact marketing to improve your small business. Test one or two new tactics and see which perform best before adding them to your marketing mix.

4. Master Business Presentations

A powerful business presentation can help improve your small business by leaps and bounds.

Start by learning the essentials of a memorable business presentation.

5. Monitor Trends

No business operates in a vacuum. The events and changes in the global landscape have an effect on your business. Stay current on trends and issues happening in your industry and local community.

6. Sharpen Your Selling Skills

A high return area for business improvement is the sales function.

Whether you're managing a sales team, never forget to focus on sales improvement.

7. Find Best Practices

Every industry habs its own ways of doing things that are tried and true. Avoid wasting money and time reinventing the industry is generally a good approach unless you're set on building the next Google.



8. Motivate Staff 

Talented and motivated staff members can bring on big improvements in business. Learn what motivates your employees to higher levels of performance.

9. Know Your Limits

Every successful business owner has a clear idea of their limitations. By knowing your entrepreneurial personality type, you can manage your resources and find help in areas of weakness.

10. Take a Break

Running a small business is hard work. Sometimes the best way to improve your business and re-ignite your passion is to take a vacation.Business improvement is a way of life for succeeding. Apply these 10 quick tips to fast track your small business.

Categorized in Business Research

The engrossing book, ‘Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built’ is an insider’s account of how an English teacher in China built one of the world’s most valuable companies, rivaling Walmart and Amazon. The rise of Alibaba from startup to giant in less than 15 years culminated in a $25 billion IPO in 2014, the largest global IPO ever.

The author Duncan Clark founded BDA Consulting in Beijing in 1994, and first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Alibaba was founded. He served as an advisor to the firm, and draws on a wide range of sources for this informative book. Duncan was formerly with Morgan Stanley, and has lived in China for over 20 years.

Here are my Top Seven takeaways and tips for entrepreneurs from this 287-page book, in terms of the context of e-commerce in China, Alibaba’s strategy and culture, competitive positioning, and future growth. See also my review of the related book, China’s Disruptors: How Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, and Other Companies are Changing the Rules of Business by Edward Tse.

1 Build an innovation ecosystem

“Over 400 million people, more than the population of the US, make purchases on Alibaba’s websites each year,” according to Duncan; this accounts for two-thirds of all parcel deliveries in China each day.

The company’s strengths are built on the ‘iron triangle’ of e-commerce, logistics and finance. Its marketplace websites include TMall (branded products), Alibaba (international B2B trade), TaoBao (local e-commerce), and Juhuasuan (Groupon-like site).

It has invested in premier logistics firms such as Shentong, Yuantong, Zhongtong and Yunda; most of their business comes from TMall and Taobao. Payment provider AliPay is expected to generate almost $5 billion in revenues by 2018; it has also created an online mutual fund, Yu’e Bao (becoming the fourth largest money manager in the world within 10 months). The new business Sesame Credit Management provides credit ratings to third parties.

2 Build an innovation culture

Alibaba has built a culture of camaraderie and commitment. Employees are called ‘AliRen’ (‘the Ali People’), and the anniversary (May 10) is celebrated as ‘AliDay,’ which celebrates teamwork and achievements. Lessons from hardships such as the SARS crisis are shared, and mentorship is strongly promoted. Employees are encouraged to learn from setbacks, but without ‘shame and blame.’

The culture is informal, and employees are encouraged to adopt a nickname. Employees can avail of interest-free loans for housing. The company’s culture is codified in the Six Vein Spirit Sword: customers, teams, change, integrity, passion and commitment. Employees are frequently rotated between regions and roles to broaden their experience. Former Alibabaemployees have been associated with 317 startups (as compared to 294 from Tencent and 223 from Baidu).

3 Be a master storyteller

Jack Ma is regarded as a masterful speaker, and networks with the giants of the business world. He has been described as a ‘Rockefeller’ of his age and even ‘Don Quixote,’ and a mix of ‘Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg, all rolled into one.’ He has also been nicknamed ‘Crazy Jack,’ and his charisma is called ‘Jack Magic.’

Unlike many Chinese entrepreneurs who returned from US education and work stints, Jack describes himself as ‘one hundred percent Made in China.’ He has a strong ability to ‘charm and cajole,’ and is ‘attention-grabbing in both English and Chinese.’

Quotable quotes (‘a soundbite machine’) and humour are hallmarks in this maverick’s talks, and Duncan jokes that Jack Ma could be a ‘stand-up comedian’ as well. As storytelling and culture-building techniques, Jack uses references, imagery and metaphors from Chinese martial arts characters. (See also my review of the related book, The Storyteller’s Secret by Carmine Gallo.)

4 Understand the local context

In Jack Ma’s early years, formative developments were the reforms of the Deng Xiaoping era. He grew up in Zhejiang, China’s ‘crucible of entrepreneurship’ in the Yangtze River delta, with Shanghai as its centre. The Yiwu wholesale market was an early template for Alibaba, and Wenzhou was home to the country’s first private railroad and air carrier. The General Association of Zhejiang Entrepreneurs may be ‘the largest business association in the world.’

The collapse of the Soviet Union followed by the rise of the Internet shaped the Chinese government’s cautious approach to dealing with the online world – promoting digital infrastructure while controlling media expression. “China wanted a Silicon Valley, but one that it could control, built on its terms,” Duncan observes; this would manifest in the ‘Great Firewall of China’ as content filters.

Early Internet players in China, some with US exposure, include AsiaInfo, UTStarcom and the portal players Sina, Sohu and NetEase. The dotcom crash of 2000 and the financial crisis of 2008 would rearrange the pecking order of the different waves of China’s digital startups.

Today, Jack Ma stands “at the intersection of China’s newfound cults of consumerism and entrepreneurship,” Duncan observes. Due to pressure on urban land, inventory and rental costs are high - and retail offline penetration is lower than in large countries like the US. Thus, e-commerce is a necessary channel for many categories and has become a lifestyle. “More than 40 per cent of Chinese consumers buy their groceries online as compared to just 10 per cent in the US,” says Duncan. Young mothers are also a key customer base for Alibaba.

5 Accept the cycles of boom and bust

Jack was born on September 10, 1964, the Year of the Dragon. His parents shared a passion for folk art performances. As a boy, he developed a love for the English language and literature, which would help him develop an international outlook and network with visiting tourists. He developed a friendship and professional association with one such Australian tourist, David Morley, who became an angel investor in the company.

A visit to the US exposed him to the Internet, and he launched his first online venture China Pages, moving out of his teaching days (his other venture was Hope Translation services). He later moved to Beijing to work for the trade ministry; a formative meeting was with Jerry Yang, founder of Yahoo, during his China visit. Jack’s next venture would be Alibaba, for which he roped in Taiwan-born investor Joe Tsai as co-founder.

Early competitors would be the websites of the trade magazine Global Sources, and MeetChina. The NASDAQ IPO of China.com in 1999 opened the international floodgates of the consumer Internet investment boom in China. Jack Ma’s ambitions rose to position Alibaba as a global player, attracting early investment from Goldman Sachs and Softbank(Masayoshi Son would be regarded as a ‘kindred spirit’ for Jack Ma).

6 Be prepared to take on the giants

The growth of the international market attracted larger players like Yahoo and eBay. eBay bought a stake in Chinese player EachNet, and Alibaba responded by launching Taobao and AliPay with new investment from SoftbankeBay fumbled with wrong cultural approaches to its China strategy and design, and eventually withdrew.

Yahoo entered the China market with a Chinese PC manufacturer as partner, and later bought a firm called 3721 Network Software; Jack Ma negotiated a deal to sell 40 per cent of Alibaba’s stakes to Yahoo for a valuation of about $4 billion. Other entrants such as Google exited the China market due to security and censorship concerns.

7 The road ahead – plan for the bigger picture

The ‘BAT kingdoms’ (Baidu, AlibabaTencent) are major Internet players in China today. There are notable local competitors to Alibaba, such as JD.com (with an ‘asset heavy’ strategy like Amazon), and chat-based commerce from WeChat (the app launched by Tencent).

Alibaba is investing heavily in startups in China in mobile, media and crowdfunding spaces (the book does not cover its investments in other countries like India). It also has a research wing, AliResearch, and has launched rural initiatives such as e-commerce kiosks as well as a global consumer operation called AliExpress. (See also my review of the related book China Fast Forward: The Technologies, Green Industries and Innovations Driving the Mainland’s Future by Bill Dodson.)

Concerns have arisen, however, over the investment and holding patterns in the web of companies controlled by Jack Ma. His activities as entrepreneur and philanthropist have expanded to grappling with China’s greatest challenges, in reforming healthcare, education and environment.

It would be fitting to end this review with one of Jack Ma’s popular quotes: “Today is brutal, tomorrow is more brutal, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful.”

Source: https://yourstory.com/2016/12/tips-entrepreneurs-alibaba-story

Categorized in Business Research

TEDx talks have become the new standard of public speaking. We can learn so much about presentation skills by watching these inspiring talks: storytelling, body language, voice — you name it!


Jonathan Li interviewed some of the world’s greatest TEDx speakers on their number one public speaking tip. Use these practical tips to improve your public speaking skills effectively.


1. Focus on one big idea


“People try to cram all their ideas like writing a book. Just choose one big idea and make it work.” — Caroline Goyder, The surprising secret to speaking with confidence


Action step: Ask yourself, “What do I want the audience think, feel, or do differently after my talk?”


2. Share your real self


“Share a part of yourself honestly. You’re not sharing your perfect self; you’re sharing your real self. People are instantly riveted by folks who are willing to share their real-life stories in front of other people.” — Ash Beckham, Coming out of your closet





Action step: Don’t hide yourself. Share your real-life story with people. This makes you human.


3. Tell a great story


“A compelling story makes people excited. Prepare a month ahead and try to craft a compelling story.” — T. H. Gross, How to become more confident – lay down on the street for 30 sec


Action step: Tell an emotional, personal story.


4. Share why your idea is so important


“It isn’t just about providing them tons and tons of information because there’s lots of information you can get on the internet. It’s about providing information in a way that they would actually remember. People will remember things when they know exactly why these things matter to them.” — Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance


Action step: What’s in it for your audience? Share the benefits in your opening.


5. Take your time to prepare


“I’ve seen so many folks who have an amazing piece of writing and they just didn’t rehearse it enough. They get on stage and read it. Or they concentrate on speaking accurately that they don’t sound very natural and the audience tunes out. There’s no shortcut. Put in an enormous amount of time to prepare.” — Colin Stokes, The hidden meanings in kids’ movies


Action step: Start with your message. Then move on to your personal story. Finally, write your opening and closing.





6. Record yourself when rehearsing


“Audio record and video record yourself multiple times. When you listen to yourself and watch the video, you notice things that you go, ‘That sounds awful.’ Or you realize the story takes too long. You’ll never notice those details by rehearsing blindly. You have to sit back and watch the video or listen. The more you record and watch yourself and go through that cycle, the better you will become.” — Laura Sicola, Want to sound like a leader? Start by saying your name right


Action step: Record yourself on video, then watch the video. Keep what you like, get rid of what you don’t like.


7. The first 3 minutes are the most important


“Memorize the first 3 minutes word for word. Once you’ve gone through the first 3 minutes, you’ll be less nervous because you know exactly what you’re going to say.” — Bruce Muzik, The big secret nobody wants to tell


Action step: Memorize the opening word for word so you’ll know exactly what to say.


8. Go with the flow


“Practice, practice, practice. You have to know generally what you’re going to say, but I certainly don’t memorize everything word for word. I know what I am going to say, I know the order in which I am going to say it, and the story. You also have to see how the audience is responding.” — Adam Leipzig, How to know your life purpose in 5 minutes


Action step: Practicing with feedback makes for great improvements. Get feedback from an experienced speaker or coach.


Use these pubic speaking tips to improve your speaking skills. Great public speaking skills will impress your boss, colleagues, and clients, as well as help you make more money and be more successful.



Author:  Jonathan L

Source:  http://www.lifehack.org

Categorized in Business Research

Recognizing the growing number of mobile searches, Google now calculates for mobile first

Google is no stranger to trying out new things for the benefit of their visitors. This time they're going to choose mobile searches over desktop searches, effectively saying that mobile is the new priority.

Since 2010, mobile users have been increasing at a rapid rate, overshadowing the desktop users in the past few years. The algorithms that Google use to determine which pages are the most relevant for any given keyword has not changed in the same sense, meaning that the robots have continued to focus on the content shown to desktop users, even if the mobile users see less content, or even altogether different content.

This has meant that some websites had very different user experiences for their desktop and mobile users respectively, leading to a lower quality of search results when using Google to find information on the given topic.

In November 2016, Google announced a shift in how they will rank and place search results based on a mobile-first experiment. By tweaking their systems to check in more detail for the different version of any given website, compared to desktop and mobile content, Google is hoping to provide even better search results for mobile users.

How this will be done is relatively simple; instead of Google using the content that desktop users see when visiting any given website, and ranking the pages on that, they will switch to crawling mobile results, and use that content to rank their sites instead. 

What this means for webmasters out there has yet to be shown in full effect, as Google will adjust and change certain metrics over the coming few months, and as with anything related to their search queries, nothing is set in stone, and subject to change at their whim.

Currently, this is what website owners and bloggers should be aware of:

  • If your desktop and mobile content differs, you might gain or lose rankings accordingly.
  • Google will not have 2 indexes, one for desktop and one for mobile, meaning that they really are going Mobile First. (In other words, desktop users have been demoted.)
  • If both desktop and mobile content are the same, there should be no visible changes based on your site alone, but you might still see changes based on the competitor movement in the search engine ranking placements.
  • Pages with low-quality content on mobile devices stand a large chance of getting de-ranked, and Google states in cases like this it should be better to discontinue the mobile versions until they can rival the desktop versions. (Build up your mobile pages to be as good if not better than your desktop pages before pushing them live.)

Some onlookers had hoped for Google to announce they would add a second index that focused on mobile pages only, but currently Google will keep a single index and rank both desktop and mobile sites in that same dataset, meaning they won't distinguish too much between the two, in terms of ranking signals. 

When a Twitter user asked Gary Illyes, a senior developer at Google in charge of this implementation, when we could expect to see this live on a big scale, he replied:

@ThisIsAJames I dunno. We're months away from that

— Gary Illyes (@methode) November 5, 2016

So it might not be until the new year, that we will see this huge change going live, but Google is currently testing on a small scale, probably with a controlled set of websites and mobile pages, to test everything properly. After all, this is probably going to be one of the single largest changes the search giant has made to their algorithms in a long time.

Source : http://www.business.com/

Auhtor : 

Categorized in Business Research

Networking is inevitable in any business. As marketing is a very huge and dynamic industry, there will always be collaborations, and partnerships between brands, and engagement with customers, thus the need for networking.

An infographic from Virgin shows 85% of the respondents say they build stronger, more meaningful business relationships during in-person business meetings and conferences

As the name connotes, business networking is defined as a skill that is used to build new business contacts through connecting with other like-minded individuals.

Why is Networking Important?

Networking Opens Opportunities

Venturing out of your comfort zone enables you to explore more opportunities. Partnership with other like-minded companies or individuals who share the same vision and business goals are good results of networking. Not only that, it will open doors for collaborations, sales leads, joint ventures, speaking gigs, or writing opportunities you would have access to.

Networking Builds Your Confidence

Breaking the ice and striking up a conversation with people you don’t know tests your limits. You have to come up with creative ways to start a conversation and sustaining and probing your prospects well enough to know what types of business and tools they are looking for. In doing so, you boost your confidence level, which makes your next networking attempt even easier.

Networking is a Great for Learning

More often than not, networking sessions happen during conferences and industry events. These are great opportunities to update yourself not only from the conference presentations but also from industry people who practice their profession.

You can learn their best practices and find out how they were able to overcome challenges, which might be relevant to where you are in the business cycle. You can always learn something new in networking.

Listen to the recent Marketing Nerds episode by Debbie Miller of Social Hospitality, Amanda Russell of Ghergich & Co., and SEJ Executive Editor Kelsey Jones as they discuss experiences with networking and how to meet new people.

How Should You Network?

Be the Best Representative of Your Company

First and foremost, know that networking is often a face-to-face interaction and it may be the first impression people have of our brand. You should always keep your company’s best interest in mind. After all, we personify our companies. We are the human representations of what it does and what it offers.

After a huge conference or event, you might remember the company name or the brand, instead of the name of the person you spoke with. So come prepared, dress well, and carry yourself with confidence.

Keep the Right Mindset

What is your true motivation for networking? Whatever it is, the people you speak with will be able to tell. If your main goal is to make a sale, it is not conducive to building a real relationship. You will come across as spammy and insincere.

Show genuine interest in your potential business partner – pay attention to what they say, what they need, and what they do best. If you have a hard time coming up with a conversation starter, ask them about their company, and what their role is. Most people like to talk about themselves. So, ask open-ended questions to start conversations. More importantly, listen to what they say. Focus on them. Great networkers are those who listen more and talk less.


Build Relationships

Go into a conversation with the goal of establishing a long-term partnership, and not just making a quick sale. Lasting relationships are mutually beneficial partnerships.

Some successful networkers even go as far as doing research work before networking. If they know that the person they want to meet is interested in golf, for example, they would invite them and play a round of golf. Or if they are interested in having drinks, they’d invite them to have drinks after the event.


If you meet someone who has business needs your company can solve, follow-up immediately. Don’t wait to send feelers four weeks after. They might not remember you at all. Best to send an email immediately upon return to office the next day. Just remember to be personable and focus on how you can help, not what you have to sell.

Tools for Business Networking

Business Cards

Business cards will be your main weapon in increasing your business network. In fact, 55% of Americans who own a small business typically distribute business cards at conferences. When you attend a conference with thousands of attendees, be sure to bring at least two packs of your business cards to give away. This is a valuable tool for your networking success. When receiving a card, do not just simply put it in your pocket. Take a moment to read what is written on the card. Not only will it enable you to ask smart and valuable questions, but it also shows respect to your potential lead.

One other tool you can take advantage of is Camcard. It is a business card app that allows you to scan, manage, sync and exchange business cards all in one place. You can quickly enter business cards, or exchange business cards digitally. One good thing about this tool is you can access your business contacts anywhere.

You can also digitize your business card through a tool called About.me. This app shows what your main interest or business is. You can show your portfolio, images, videos, blogs, music, or your business information. It is like your address online.

LinkedIn Profile

Create a LinkedIn profile if you still do not have one. If you have an existing LinkedIn profile already, make sure it is updated with your newest job title, most recent published works, and newest collaborations.

After a conference, most business contacts will check out your business card, and look you up on LinkedIn to see your credentials, your background, and all other information about you. LinkedIn is the ultimate social media channel for business professionals, so if you want to be taken seriously, make sure that you have one.

Use Twitter

Whenever you are at a business conference, intensify your social media postings on Twitter. Most conferences have a customized hashtag, and attendees use this to post relevant takeaways. Not only will live conference coverage give your followers real-time updates of the conference, but this method proves to be a very effective way of communicating with the speakers, the organizers, and other event attendees, without the awkwardness of face-to-face communication. Take advantage of this channel to join virtual conversations. This might score you an invite to an awesome after-conference party.

Final Thoughts

You can become successful in business networking by planning and focusing more on other people rather than worrying about what you are going to say. There are many ways to strategically represent yourself, and your company, but these basic tips and tools will help you gain business contacts, and hopefully close deals.

Author:  Meg Cabrera

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Categorized in Business Research

When a business loses momentum, it loses one of its greatest advantages. Here are five things that can stop your business dead in its tracks.

When you’re a growing business, momentum is invaluable.

It keeps your team looking forward, and thinking big. It feeds that buzz in the room – the one that isn’t directly related to the pile of crumpled coffee cups. It makes working till sunrise feel like the only decent thing to do.

In short, momentum gives your business its all-important mojo.

And you really don’t want to lose it. After all, about a third of new employers crash and burn within their first two years.

So, take heed. Here are five certified mojo killers that, given the opportunity, could seriously sap your business momentum.

1. Expanding too fast.

Growth may be your ultimate goal, but excessive, unchecked growth? That can actually put the brakes on your business – by destroying the things that, right now, makes it special: its culture, its values, its all-hands-on-deck mentality.

Top tip: As your business begins to take off, do make sure you’ve the right skills and managerial support in place – but don’t rush into hiring decisions. Every new recruit should complement and reinforce your culture. Also, take the time to regularly check your course, getting everyone together to review your shared vision and values.

2. Failing to trust your team.

If you don’t trust your people to deliver on their own, you risk making them less engaged in your business’s heroic struggle. You also risk wasting your time – time that should be spent on much more important stuff. This is a problem that’ll only worsen as your company grows.

Top tip: Share the responsibility for success with each new person you employ. Be transparent, trusting and communicative. Your people will feel empowered, happier and more motivated, and your business will feel the benefit of them firing on all cylinders – producing ideas and approaches you’d never have thought of by yourself.

3. Setting only long-term goals. 

When you launch a new product, top a thousand customers, or reach a revenue milestone, everyone feels the adrenalin kick. Those little kicks are essential to keep your business barreling forward. Super long-term, vague or non-existent goals leave people drifting, and put a slow but lethal drain on your mojo.

Top tip: One of the joys of being small is that it’s easy to communicate objectives, and keep everyone buzzing about meeting them. In addition to building momentum, setting short-term goals in each key business area – and sharing them with your team – will do two great things:

  • It’ll force you to find ways to evaluate the performance of everything you do – be it sales activity or marketing campaigns
  • It’ll keep you tweaking and perfecting your strategy

4. Taking your eyes off the customer.

Staying customer-focused sounds simple enough. But in reality, “ignoring customers” accounts for the failure of more than one in every ten startups.

Top tip: Regularly review the problem you’re helping your customers solve, and the factors – economic, social, political or technological – that can affect it. At the same time, look for related problems that you might, one day, be able to help with, too.

5. Resting on your laurels.

After a flying start, it can be tempting to take your foot off the gas – letting your business coast, while you serve your suddenly sizable customer base. Those laurels may be comfy, but resist resting on them for long. It’s vital to keep taking risks, and seizing opportunities.

Top tip: Staying full of momentum, and mojo, means staying hungry. Unless you’re reaching the absolute limit of what your business systems and resources can handle – and you’ve no way to upscale fast – you should keep marketing, innovating and driving growth.

Don’t stop ‘til you get enough. (And don’t stop then, either.)

Create the right conditions and momentum will come as naturally to your business as a rock rolling downhill. And that will keep you rolling on, even when – as every business does – you hit unexpected bumps in the road.

Source: forbes.com

Categorized in Business Research

Cyber breaches of mega-retailers like Home Depot and Target, health care insurers like Anthem, Premera and Excellus and federal agencies -- most prominently, the Office of Personnel Management -- dominate the headlines, but it's only a fraction of the story. What most people don’t realize is that a staggering 90 percent of breaches impact small businesses. Those figures, released by payment technology solutions powerhouse First Data, highlight the seriousness of the cyber security issue for small businesses.

Unlike larger organizations with revenues in the billions, small businesses might easily experience a near extinction-level event from a data breach. The recovery expenses mount quickly -- credit monitoring for affected customers, lost revenue, crisis management, customer notification and investigation of the breach, just to name a few -- and can create a financial loss so staggering it has the potential to crush a small business. With 2016 already on pace to see a 4.7 percent rise in the number database compromises over last year, according to data released by the Identity Theft Resource Center, members of the business community have a right to wonder if or when this seemingly never-ending assault will plateau.

Small businesses need to follow the 3Ms in order to navigate a most dangerous digital world. Minimize the risk of exposure; monitor networks; and have comprehensive incident response and resolution programs in place in order to manage the damage. In other words, respond urgently, transparently and empathetically to customers and employees in the event of a compromise.

Here are four strategies that can help small businesses better defend against malicious insider and hacker attacks and more effectively deal with them if a breach does occur. 

1. Know your risks

It’s imperative that small businesses acknowledge the value of their data and do what they can to protect it. Companies of every size can reduce the chance of an exposure if they scour their network and data assets with an eye toward where vulnerabilities might be lurking.

First, review the type of data that you are collecting and storing. Businesses handling medical or financial information, for example, may need to comply with industry regulations or state and federal laws that require specific security measures. Also, understand where sensitive information currently resides. A server with remote access could present an easy target for hackers. Consider keeping top-level data somewhere that’s more difficult to reach. 

Get a handle on how data moves across your network. How are mobile devices authorized to connect? Which data is shared with third parties? See if security gaps exist at those connection points and fix them.

2. Make employees your first line of defense

Employees typically have wide access to stored information -- from customers’ financial data to personnel records. A better strategy is to match network access permissions to the requirements of specific job duties. If an employee doesn’t need access to sensitive data, don’t give it to them. When you change an employee’s role, update his or her login credentials to maintain a strong security posture. Equally important, immediately deactivate the network access of any employee who leaves the company, regardless of the circumstances of their departure.

Employees represent a delicious target. Hackers view them as the weakest link, making the small business workforce a crucial link in the security chain. Raising employee awareness is essential. Educate them about the dangers of phishing and falling for other common scams. Be sure they know what to do if they think they might have clicked on a malware-laden link or mistakenly provided information on a clone website.

3. Focus resources in the right areas

Like their larger counterparts, small businesses often hold enormous amounts of data. Trying to deploy an impenetrable fortress around all of it would be prohibitively expensive. Instead, identify the information that is most sensitive -- and most valuable -- and focus security resources in those areas. Consumer data (payment data and personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, names, addresses, birth dates, etc.) and employee data should be among the files afforded the highest level of protection.

Strong security doesn't have to be prohibitively expensive. Encryption technology is often free or very low cost, so look for opportunities to use it. By encrypting sensitive datasets, a stolen laptop or lost thumb drive will still be an annoyance but it may not result in a breach.

4. Invest in cyber insurance with coverage that matches your business risk profile.

Because the financial implications associated with even a minor breach are significant, small businesses must consider mitigating their risks by adding a cyber insurance policy. Coverage is available that helps pay costs related to forensic investigations, customer notification, reputation management and even legal counsel. Some policies also provide access to experts who can help the business evaluate its risks and address potential vulnerabilities.

Adam Levin is a consumer advocate with more than 30 years of experience in security, privacy, personal finance, real estate and government service. A former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Levin is chairman and founder of IDT911 and co-founder of Credit.com. He is also the author of "Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves."

Source : https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/276221

Categorized in Business Research

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s not just millennials who are struggling to afford a place in Metro Vancouver.

Companies looking at moving to the area and ones already here are feeling the crunch, too.

Some research looking at markets for businesses to set up shop in North America has found only New York City and San Francisco have more expensive rental markets than Vancouver.

The cost per foot per year is more than $75 in the Big Apple, about $60 in San Francisco and around $40 here in Metro Vancouver.

But the number crunchers at CBRE, who did the research, say companies relocating here from other cities do have something to look forward to — and it may come as a bit of a surprise to people living in this region:

They believe business owners will have an easier time finding staff to come to Vancouver because their employees will find rental rates for homes, condos and apartments are more reasonable than in many other places around the continent.


Categorized in Others
Page 1 of 2


World's leading professional association of Internet Research Specialists - We deliver Knowledge, Education, Training, and Certification in the field of Professional Online Research. The AOFIRS is considered a major contributor in improving Web Search Skills and recognizes Online Research work as a full-time occupation for those that use the Internet as their primary source of information.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.